Communicating messages in a heartbeat

You don't see much about them in the press, but they're there. Killer combinations of raw talent, enthusiasm and, yes, even sophistication. Strategy did a cross-country poll of agency creatives and commercial production execs, asking which new teams were doing drop-dead clever work. Despite the reluctance of some agency brass to name their brightest ('they'll get stolen') and even to name the top up-and-comers elsewhere ('I'm trying to steal them'), ultimately, after much wheedling, it was a long list.
The following teams are the ones whose names cropped up the most.

You don’t see much about them in the press, but they’re there. Killer combinations of raw talent, enthusiasm and, yes, even sophistication. Strategy did a cross-country poll of agency creatives and commercial production execs, asking which new teams were doing drop-dead clever work. Despite the reluctance of some agency brass to name their brightest (‘they’ll get stolen’) and even to name the top up-and-comers elsewhere (‘I’m trying to steal them’), ultimately, after much wheedling, it was a long list.

The following teams are the ones whose names cropped up the most.

What are they saying about the Young & Rubicam, Toronto team of Nelson Quintal and Aya Refaeli? For one thing, that the team, which has been together for about two years now, is superbly adept at communicating messages in a heartbeat.

Take their favourite campaign to date, which was the launch of the Documentary Channel. It arrived on Canadian television screens last fall along with almost 50 other new channels. So the challenge was obvious: to somehow make the Documentary Channel stand out in a bewildering blizzard of viewer choices.

What solution did Quintal and Refaeli come up with? To instantly convey the channel’s essence, which is real reality rather than the scripted and staged versions now being hyped as such. How? With the lightning-fast tag line of ‘Television that tells the truth.’

And how did they pictorialize that concept? By showing actual TV sets in truth-demanding situations: on a witness stand, in a confessional booth and hooked up to a lie detector. Ba da bing, ba da boom. Message sent and received.

The copywriter:

Nelson Quintal

Education: B.A. (York U.), Communication Arts (Seneca College), Mig welding course at Millhaven Penitentiary

Work history: Cossette Toronto, Y&R Toronto (currently)

Portfolio: Bell Mobility’s Solo Prepaid campaign

Fave campaign (by someone else): The Guinness ‘Dreamer,’ ‘Surfer’ and ‘Swimblack’ spots

Signature work: Launch of The Documentary Channel. It’s probably the simplest and cleanest piece of communication we’ve done to date.

On coming up with the ‘big idea’: The One Show 1978

On creative style: Where the Buffalo Roam

Most revealing personal detail: Was once ‘saved’ by an evangelist

The art director:

Aya Refaeli

Education: Hebrew U., Ontario College of Art & Design

Work history: Cossette Toronto, Y&R Toronto

(currently)

Portfolio: Bell Mobility’s Solo Prepaid campaign

Fave campaign (by someone else): Outpost.com/Jukka Brothers for MTV

Signature work: Documentary Channel

On coming up with the ‘big idea’: We thought about truth, as opposed to things that are glamourized and scripted, and tried to zero in on what was the main thing we needed to say.

On creative style: Shabby chic.

Best thing about Nelson: He abides by our pact to never automatically shoot down each other’s most way-out ideas or totally unrelated notions because that’s what might lead us to something great.

Worst thing about Nelson: I have nothing bad to say about Nelson. It’s all good.

Future goals: You learn so much with every project you do and realize that you have more and more to learn. Whatever goals you have, I think it’s pretty much you competing with yourself.

Best thing about the ad biz: When you work hard, it’s worth it because you remember that you’re doing something you love with a passion. If you do something, you might as well love it.

Worst thing about the ad biz: There’s no balance. It’s always feast or famine [work-wise].

On Nelson and Aya:

‘I think their best quality is that any project you give them, even if it’s just a little P-O-P or DM job, they take it and try to make it a winner. Their attention to detail is as good as the way they come up with great and novel ideas. They constantly surprise me.’

- Wain Choi,

VP, group creative director,

Young & Rubicam

‘We needed to communicate that we were going to get at the real truth, not the hyped or dramatized versions. And we were very pleased with the work they did for us. It really accomplished the goal.’

- Michael Harris,

general manager,

The Documentary Channel